I love this place, but I kind of forgot about it for a while! Caitlin, Monique and I met up for a quick weekday lunch to check out some of the changes The Shady Grove has been making to the menu lately.
Quick facts about The Shady Grove
- They’ve been around since 1992! Maybe I should add this place to my Classic Austin Restaurants blog post?
- The outdoor patio is everything in the summer! Like the name says, it’s a “shady grove” of giant live oak trees covering the patio. There’s a little corner stage where musicians perform for free every Thursday in the summer as a part of KGSR’s Unplugged At The Grove concert series.
- They serve easy, delicious grill + bar food. Burgers, sandwiches, salads, tons of tasty apps like chili cheese fries and chips and guac, and some healthy options, too! Monique is currently eating gluten free, and she was able to pick from an entirely separate menu with lots of healthy GF options.
^ The chips and guac are new to Shady Grove! Not all chips and guac are created equal. I hate it when a restaurant makes a thick, creamy, flavorful guacamole and then serves it with flimsy store-bought tortilla chips! Not having it. Shady Grove serves these house-fried thick, salty, crunchy chips that can withstand a healthy dunk into the guac.
^ Do your friends do this on your lunch date, too? And then you take a picture of them taking a picture? Because same.
^ Green Chili Cheese Fries…oh my soul. These babies are absolutely my comfort food! I love ’em on cold days (like last Tuesday when I was eating here), and in the middle of the summer with a Dr. Pepper. I had to limit myself to a few so I’d still be hungry to try some other noshes.
^ Loved these little tamale cakes covered in pork, Hatch green chili sauce, queso, and pico de gallo. They have just the teeniest bit of heat of the hatch pepper. Yum.
^ I have a sad story about this delicious new menu item, the grilled cheese + tomato soup. Rusty, the manager, came over to our table and recommended we try this one because it’s been a crowd favorite. It sounded sooo good, so even though I was already getting full, I tried a few bites of the sandwich. YUM!
It’s a crunchy grilled sandwich on sourdough with brie, cheddar, applewood bacon, tomato, and avocado, served with a bowl of thick, hearty tomato soup on the side. Oh my goodness….I loved it so much!
I took half of it home as leftovers and was already excited about eating it for dinner that night, and then as I was walking out to my car after lunch…SPLAT.
I dropped the entire sandwich on the parking lot. Face down. Gravel in the cheese.
I still had the soup for dinner, but it wasn’t the same without that tasty sandwich! I need to get back to Shady Grove to order another one soon.
^ The chicken and andouille gumbo is another new menu item. I’m telling you: Shady Grove is really stepping up their game! Rather than being an “old-time restaurant where we used to eat,” they’re working with new chefs to create fresh, new flavors so that Austinites can make this more of a destination restaurant. So happy that they’re doing that, because I really truly love this place!
^ And then there’s always the classic cheeseburger. I had to get one of these to take me back 20 years in time to when I would drive down to Austin for the TAGS swim meet (that’s Texas Age Group Swimming, the Texas state championship swim meet) that would take place at the UT natatorium each summer.
My parents would take me out to eat between morning prelims and evening finals, and Shady Grove was always my dad’s and my top pick. I’d eat a giant burger, fries, and a vanilla milk shake before heading back to the pool to compete in finals.
But really…how do kids do that? I’d barf if I tried to pull something like that now! Haha.
The Shady Grove
WEBSITE | 1624 Barton Springs Rd
Lots of love to you this weekend, friends! I’m running up to Dallas for my sister Courtney’s book signing (see her book on Amazon here. So proud of you, Court!) before heading back down to Austin for all the SXSW craziness next week…